Let your light shine in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Light was the first thing God created after “the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1-3) In John 1:1-5, the author calls Jesus both the Word of God and the Light that the world cannot overpower. Jesus called himself the Light of the world in John 8:12.
But in Matthew 5:14-16, he mentions our light. Every translation I’ve seen calls it your light. We have a light and when we follow Jesus, our light comes from him, but it also sends a message to the world about him.
This light is something I have, therefore, I believe Jesus is talking about my character. Character is the mark I leave behind. The word, “character” comes from a Greek word meaning to engrave or scratch. It is the impression we make. Our character is who we really are, both the things we want to share and the ones we hope no one ever knows. Our character involves everyone we know and every story we have, whether we want it exposed or not.
I, like many, thought of my good works as the light. But two verses earlier, Jesus says we are the light. Our character is who we are. Our character acts as light to enable others to see my good works. Jesus isn’t telling us to share our good deeds with GIFs and selfies. We don’t need to show off our good works, but we want to be people of character. Our best self causes others to see our good works. Our effort to shine makes us look like we’re showing off. But when our character shines the light, the world sees the good works and glorifies God. Life following Jesus produces character. The Holy Spirit and our character present the good works and God is glorified.
Does your light shine? Jesus gave us that light and teaching for character so others would see the good works, and glorify God. How are you doing? What can we do to help one another let our light shine?